By Dhani Jones
Special to Page 2

As everyone knows by now, it has been a wild few weeks in Philadelphia. Personally, I like Terrell Owens. He's a good guy and a great ballplayer, and I can tell you that he has friends on this team. You don't play with a team for two years without making some friends. But he had a quarrel with management and things didn't work out.

Brian Westbrook: Eagles loss to Cowboys
Westbrook tries to hold on ... but in the end, the Cowboys dismantle the Eagles.

Will he be back? I have no clue, but it seems as though everyone has an opinion. The last week has been so wild, even the Rev. Jesse Jackson chimed in. Honestly, the Good Reverend should stick to preaching and stay out of sports. Next thing you know, Al Sharpton will be marching on the Washington Monument.

Despite the distractions, we prepared for our Monday night game against the Cowboys with a playoff mentality. We really wanted to start the second half of the season with a victory, but we simply didn't make enough plays down the stretch and blew a tough game against our rivals.

On the offensive side, we finally succeeded in jump-starting our running game. Brian Westbrook and Lamar Gordon are dangerous weapons, and they helped keep the Cowboys' defense off-balance. As a defense, we tried to get QB Drew Bledsoe out of rhythm by disrupting his timing with Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn. We were successful for the most part, with the exception of a few costly errors. For my part, I feel like I did alright, though it's hard to feel good about your individual performance after a loss.

Donovan McNabb is getting quite a bit of heat for the interception at the end of the game, and the media is pegging him as the culprit for the miscommunication with intended receiver Reggie Brown. I can't say exactly what went wrong; I worry about my defense, and we let the offense take care of its business. But I can say that I very much respect Donovan because he always stands up to the fire and leads our team in a dignified way.

We lost Donovan at the end of the game with a flare-up of the hernia injury. He rolls with the punches and he'll be back ready to play next week against the Giants. He's hurting a little bit, but he's our leader and he'll fight through it like he always does. And we'll need him. The Giants will be coming off a loss, too, so they'll be hungry. The time has come to take care of business.

Time to hit pause on my day job and put on my other hat as a movie critic. Coincidentally, this week I caught a movie about a man who left behind his own day job to pursue another avenue of artistic expression.

***** DHANI'S REEL REVIEW *****

50 Cent
Paramount
50 Cent in his movie debut, "Get Rich" -- yet another Cinderella rap story?

STAT SHEET
Movie: "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" (in theaters)
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: Jim Sheridan
Stars: Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Joy Bryant, Terrence Howard
Ideal date: Girlfriend. It's good for her to see that, in order to take care of her, sometimes I need to be away from home, hustling and taking care of business.

DHANI'S CALL
"First Down"

RATINGS SYSTEM
"Touchdown": As good as it gets.
"Field goal": Comes away with points.
"First Down": Moves the chains.
"Sacked": Lost yards. Not good.
"Fumble": Doesn't get any worse.
Ideal date: (1) Girlfriend (2) Cheerleader (3) Teammate (4) The kids (5) Coach

THE GAME PLAN
In a society that encourages us to focus on our day jobs, yet another rapper is taking a crack at the big screen. But, after the success of Eminem's "8 Mile" and the summer's other rags-to-rapper film, "Hustle and Flow," you have to wonder whether there is any juice left in the genre.

The answer comes in the opening sequence, when a bloody, botched robbery sets Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's semiautobiographical tale apart from the aforementioned "Cinderella Rapper" films. After bullet-hole-riddled Marcus (Jackson, in his big-screen debut) is left to die, our narrator and antihero takes us back in time to examine the hardships that have led to this bleak scenario. With the help of this gritty, shoot-'em-up opening, the audience is thrust into a world that is just as much "Scarface" as it is a recording artist's biography.

It seems that Jackson wants to show the world that the rap game is a road of sweat and blood, of hustle and struggle. With Academy Award-nominated director Jim Sheridan as his accomplice, the film bounces with a raw energy and gritty truth with little excess of fat, stunts or gimmicks.

I, for one, left the theater inspired, contemplating my own ambitions. Despite the murder of his drug-dealing mama, the lack of a father figure, a drug war with the Colombians, a stint in jail and, yes, nine bullet holes, 50 Cent has become a successful rapper, movie star and mini-mogul.

Unlike Jackson, I was lucky to have a sound childhood with supportive parents and the means to succeed. It's easy for me to rest on my laurels -- become content with my day job and pigeonhole myself as an athlete. Sometimes it seems that society likes to stick you in a box. If you're fast, stick to the left lane. If you're slow, the right lane is best. My challenge is to continue to grow and, like Jackson, find the drive to succeed on another level.

Dhani Jones
WireImage
It's not all about sports for Eagles LB Dhani Jones.

THE ROSTER
Franchise Player: Like fellow actor/rappers Queen Latifah, DMX, Eminem and Mos Def before him, Jackson defies the naysayers and disrupts the stereotypes, giving a stellar performance.

Player in a Contract Year: I hadn't seen Joy Bryant since her charismatic performance in Denzel Washington's "Antwone Fisher." Naturally, I wondered how this beautiful, low-key talent could bring a sense of warmth and tenderness to her relationship with a violent gangster rapper. They aren't Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad, but Jackson and Bryant perform with great chemistry.

Benched: Leon (the actor) is a disappointment as jheri-curled Slim, Marcus' oft-dissed would-be biological daddy. Years ago, he was an up-and-coming actor in "Waiting to Exhale" and other big productions. Here, he takes a small part as a greasy-haired Rick James clone.

GAME BALL
Jackson successfully separates himself from 50 Cent. It's hard enough leaving your day job at home, but to leave your stage name (even in the film's credits) and tell all is a job worth noting. I was truly humbled by his performance and I admired his courage as a man.

THE DE-CLEATER
Sure, Halle Berry won an Oscar after baring all in "Monster's Ball." And, yes, Brad Pitt's rear has earned him millions. But something is wrong in the world when even our gangster rappers toss their clothes for the camera. In the film, Jackson makes his mark in show business by showing all his business for two gratuitous nude scenes. Ladies, get your camera phones ready.

Dhani Jones is a Renaissance man. Off the field, the Philadelphia Eagles linebacker looks more like an artist and intellect than an athlete. His hobbies include his poetry, music, studying Islam, painting and photography. People magazine rated the pro as one of this year's sexiest bachelors. And now, he's our resident movie critic reviewing what's currently out on the silver screen. More information about ESPN contributor Dhani Jones can be found at dhani55.com.




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Dhani
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FILM REVIEW